NAIROBI, Kenya, June 19 – The government has called on the Hotel Owners and Caterers Association of Kenya (KHAC) to task the National Industry Training Authority (NITA) with developing a robust action plan to help the sector recover.
At a symposium convened by KHAC, Jackson Kalla, Chief Administrative Secretary for Labor and Social Protection, urged stakeholders in the tourism sector to identify industry skills gaps as a key action to foster growth.
He urged hoteliers to conduct skill audits to identify skill gaps in the industry.
While endorsing the partnership, he urged members of the industry to work with NITA to develop a curriculum that addresses the needs of the industry while underscoring the importance of NITA’s framework for recognizing prior learning. He said this is a step to recognize the importance of the informal labor sector.
“The government has found ways to use the skills of people without formal education. Experience also plays a role here in order to get accepted into the job,” he said.
Kalla acknowledged that the containment measures introduced by the government to curb COVID-19 infections adversely affected various sectors of the economy, with the tourism industry being one of the hardest-hit sectors.
He said that while the industry has been hit hard, it is crucial that sector stakeholders learn from the experience of COVID-19 to build resilience.
Kallas’ views were shared by Mike Macharia, CEO of KAHC and NITA Board Director.
Macharia stressed the need for tourism stakeholders to engage and innovate strategies to rebuild the tourism sector across the board.
He noted that while the industry has been significantly impacted since the outbreak of the pandemic, sector players have increased their investments in the local market.
“If 70 percent of Kenyans are consumers, we can survive any tragedy. It will take about four years for hotels to recover because hotels are expensive to maintain. But the majority of workers have gone back to work and are earning according to their contracts,” Macharia said.